U.S. Taps Oil Reserves, Sanctions More Russians Amid Ukraine
The White House on Thursday announced a massive release of the nation’s strategic oil reserves as it tries to combat high prices at the pump due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, TURAN’s Washington correspondent reports.
Average of 1 million barrels per day will be released for the next six months, resulting in a total release of about 180 million barrels, President Joe Biden said in his remarks at the White House.
Biden called on the nation’s oil industry to produce more, while criticizing industry profits. “Enough of lavishing excessive profits on investors and payouts and buybacks when the American people are watching, the world is watching,” he said.
“This is not the time to sit on record profits. It’s time to step up for the good of your country, the good of the world, to invest in immediate production that we need to respond to Vladimir Putin, to provide some relief for your customers, not investors and executives,” he added.
The move comes as many buyers in the U.S. are rejecting Russian barrels, creating less overall supply and increased demand from elsewhere.
The White House said on Thursday that Biden also calls on Congress to approve legislation that would “make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years and on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing.” The senior administration official described it as a “use it or lose it” policy.
Biden will also authorize the use of the Defense Production Act to support the production and processing of minerals for batteries used in clean energy and electric vehicles, part of an effort to transition the U.S. to clean energy overtime and reduce dependence on oil.
“Putin’s actions in Ukraine and the resulting disruptions to global energy markets have demonstrated the urgent need to accelerate our clean energy transition, which will make our country more energy independent and much less vulnerable to the whims of dictators.”Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
The Energy Department and the administration are "aggressively investing in a wide range of clean energy technologies, which will grow our economy, create good-paying jobs, lower costs for American families, and combat the climate crisis."
The move on Thursday followed just hours after the U.S. State Department announced new sanctions against Russian’s companies and individuals.
“Today, we are targeting entities and individuals in our efforts to shut down the Kremlin’s sanctions evasion networks, which play an important role in the Russian Federation’s ability to continue its unconscionable war on the citizens of Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
This follows our March 15 and March 24 designations of individuals and companies in Russia’s defense-industrial base that are directly supporting Putin’s war machine.
With the latest move, the State Department designated 21 entities and 13 individuals. Of those being designated, 10 of those individuals and 17 entities are involved in sanctions evasion networks to procure of western technology.
“These designations will further impede Russia’s access to western technology and the international financial system. We will continue to target President Putin’s war machine with sanctions from every angle, until this senseless war of choice is over,“ Blinken noted.
Russia, he said, “not only continues to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine with its attacks, but it is escalating the devastation of population centers, including schools, hospitals, residential areas, and places where civilians are taking shelter from the Russian bombardment.”
On Thursday, the U.S. also designated three Russian individuals for their involvement in malicious cyber activities, one of whom the Justice Department indicted last week.
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